Jan 24, 2010

Cleaning up my Inbox, Troubleshooting the CyberSmart Toolbar, and seeing the tooth fairy

Someone in my online network (sorry, can't quite recall who it was) posted a link to an article for ways to make oneself more productive at work.  One of the tips was to make sure that your Inbox was cleaned out everyday.  This involved deleting junk/old messages one did not need and using folders to organize the messages on DOES need.  It took me just under two hours (considering I was answering email and phone calls during the process), but I finally managed to get my work Inbox down from over 5200 messages to 7 (yes, seven) messages. 

I realize I could have emptied the Inbox completely, but I am not quite that organized.  I prefer to keep "in progress" messages in the Inbox so I can monitor responses etc without searching through the myriad of folders I had created.  As replies come in, I either move the older messages or I delete them (depending on the need).

And, I have to admit, it is so much nicer seeing a handful of messages rather than seeing a list that went on forever and ever.  If your Inbox is out of control, take time to organize your email, create rules to move incoming messages (from subscriptions, etc), and hopefully you will much less overwhelmed, too!

At work, Phoebe installed the uber-handy "CyberSmart Toolbar" (found here: http://www.cybersmarttoolbar.com/) for Internet Explorer.  The toolbar has bookmarks built-in for education-related sites and tools.  It also has one drawback: It updates itself.  Oh, I know, you're thinking, "how could that be bad?"  The answer: It tries to update itself as soon as IE launches.  This means that you may be sitting at a hotel (or a school) that requires you to login to the wireless network before getting anywhere online.  In the case of the toolbar, CyberSmart tries to update but it can't because the network has not granted you access yet.  Instead of timing out, though, the toolbar creates a "Program Not Responding" issue in IE.

How do you cure this?  Relatively easily.  Go to Control Panel > Internet Options > Programs > Manage Add Ons.  In the list of add-ons, scroll until you find CyberSmart Toolbar and choose "DISABLE."  Click "OK" several times to get back out of that area.  Once you've done that, you can fire up IE and connect to the local network. 

Here's the kicker: Once you've connected to the local network the first time, you can go back into control panel and re-ENABLE the toolbar.  This works because once you've attached to the hotel's (or school's) network, the toolbar can find the connection and check for updates.

Another possible solution: I have not checked yet, but if there is a setting in the toolbar to "Check for Updates" or "Update Automatically," you might be able to turn off that feature, thus eliminating the whole issue in the first place.  If you're using the toolbar, let me know if there such a setting. Thanks.

Yesterday (Saturday), we hopped in the car and headed to Texarkana.  Emily and Shan were looking for shoes, and we decided we would go see a movie.  We chose to see "The Tooth Fairy."  I know a lot of people are not happy with "The Rock" doing these kid-friendly movies, but I think it shows a great responsibility on his part to make movies his kids can see.

I won't give too much away, since it just came out and all, but the movie has its share of funny moments.  No surprise, Billy Crystal's short appearance in the flick is funny, even if it is tantamount to an iPod commercial within the film.  There is a nice balance of comedic set-ups and sentimental moments.  Of course, one of the highlights for me comes in the way of The Rock's car: a little red Corvette (even though it 'gurgles' to a stop when he turns it off, which I have never personally heard a 'Vette do). 

Julie Andrews brings her style of class and reserved humor to the film, too.  There is a tall, lanky guy that serves as The Rock's case worker.  Being a hockey fan, I enjoyed the rink-related scenes, even if they were more than a bit over-the-top (glass-smashing, tooth-losing scene).  I enjoyed the movie and will most likely want to add it to our home collection once it's available.  I am sucker for feel-good family movies that make you laugh and, ultimately, make you want to believe in the things you did as a child.

As with nearly every family movie, you know the 'general' ending from the start, but getting there is why we go to the movies in the first place. 

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